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The benefits of bathing

We love bathing. From Romans relaxing in the hot mineral water in the city of Bath, to Cleopatra taking a dip in聽milk and honey, we鈥檝e been reaping the benefits of bath time for centuries.

Whether it鈥檚 the use of hydrotherapy for health, or purely for a dose of zen, a soak can do wonders for the soul, as well as the skin. So we chatted to Lush Spa treatment developer and wellbeing guru, Hannah Lammiman, to find out exactly what makes the perfect bath?

Why are baths so good?

Baths can鈥檛 solve everything, but they can certainly make a difference to your day. Hannah says: 鈥淎 bath is very different to a shower. It relaxes the skin tissues so your skin looks smoother, more hydrated, and it brings the blood to the surface to help skin cell renewal. It鈥檚 great for your mind too, it鈥檚 about stepping down your thoughts and just being immersed by the water around you.鈥

A soak in a hot bath has been proven to聽boost mental wellbeing聽and strengthen聽circadian rhythms (the biological clock that determines when we feel sleepy or alert). And while regular baths can make us feel better mentally, they can also make us feel better physically. Studies have suggested that taking time out to bathe can burn the same amount of calories as a聽25 - 30 minute walk, lower blood sugar, and significantly improve heart health.聽We鈥檙e not proposing you drop your workouts in favour of some tub time, but there鈥檚 no doubt about the benefits bathing can bring.

How hot is too hot?

Everyone鈥檚 tolerance for what鈥檚 too hot is different, however it鈥檚 thought that the ideal water temperature is聽only slightly higher than our body temperature, which is around 37掳C. Anything above 39掳C and your heart begins to work harder. An extra tip? If you wince when putting your hand in the water, then it鈥檚 probably too warm.

If you鈥檝e ever stubbornly sat in a bath that you knew was far too hot, you鈥檒l be familiar with a shaky, light headed feeling that鈥檚 not far removed from the onset of flu - these kind of bathing experiences are enough to put even the most committed bathers off taking the plunge. But why can very hot baths trigger that nasty woozy feeling?

A rapid rise in body temperature can cause a聽sudden drop in blood pressure, which can cause the heart to race and make us feel dizzy. Hannah recommends avoiding baths that are too hot and instead topping up the tub with warm water once you鈥檙e in the bath. While running your bath, make sure it鈥檚 deep enough that you can properly immerse your body without sending a deluge of water across the bathroom. And why not create a bathing playlist or select a book to read while you鈥檙e waiting for the taps to run?

How long should I bathe?

Are you a quick dipper or a pruney-skinned pamperer? While some may easily lose track of time in the bath, others can find the whole idea of sitting doing nothing challenging. Aim to allow yourself at least 15 - 30 minutes of doing absolutely zilch without feeling guilty about it. But is there a magic number when it comes to optimising your soak? Hannah thinks so:聽鈥淚f you鈥檙e adding something like epsom salts, magnesium or anything to help ease aches and pains, then to really get the benefits and help with muscle function, you should be in the bath for about 20 minutes to help the osmosis of those ingredients into your skin.鈥

Bathing rituals

Rituals are an important part of daily life. Most of us perform them without even realising; whether it鈥檚 having a coffee and a croissant at the same time every morning, or a wind down routine performed before bed to help us sleep. Rituals offer us a sense of structure and solidity, and can help us feel more in control of our hectic lives. These can become more challenging to sustain as we get older. Hannah explains how turning bathing into a ritual can be a great form of self-care:聽鈥淩ituals and routines are really important. When we鈥檙e babies we learn the ritual of bath, bottle, bed. As adults we can turn bathing into a similar ritual by putting on our favourite music, listening to a podcast, lighting candles, and using our favourite bath products. Putting aside time to think 鈥業鈥檓 going to have a bath tonight鈥 is a really lovely ritual. It鈥檚 a special treat that鈥檚 not very expensive and yet it can change your day and your mindset completely.鈥

If you鈥檙e a fan of taking a bath before bed then there鈥檚 some good news,聽studies have shown聽that taking a dip before you hit the hay can help promote sleep. The rise in body temperature, followed by a rapid cool-down period is similar to the temperature drop that happens to our bodies in the evening, making us feel sleepy. Not only can this help us to drift off a little quicker, but it can even聽enhance the quality of sleep we do get.聽If you鈥檙e struggling to switch off in the evening ready for bedtime then a warm bath is your new best friend.

No bath? No problem

The Lush Spa has got you covered with Tales Of Bath, an enchanting 75 minute treatment originally designed for Bath Spa. As well as a sleep-inducing massage, you鈥檒l be able to take a dip in your very own roll top bath and get transported away to a world of fairies and magic. You鈥檒l find this special treatment in Lush Spas around the world, so why not treat yourself and聽book in for an extra special soak?

Bombs away

It鈥檚 a divisive issue. Does your favourite bath bomb go in before or after you sink into the tub? The answer: sorry we can鈥檛 help you on this one; only you can decide!

Illustration: Marisol Ortega

Strona g艂贸wna - The benefits of bathing